About the Design Research Group


The Design Research Group was established in 2005. The members of the DRG, Bob Gray (Red and Gray Design), Feargal Fitzpatrick (Lecturer Core Studies, NCAD), Margaret Lonergan (Head of Visual Communications, NCAD) and Dr. Ciarán Swan (Associate Lecturer, Department of Visual Culture, NCAD) met while teaching in the Department of Visual Communications in NCAD in 2004/2005 and immediately saw an opportunity to bring together visual communications practitioners, tutors and theorists in order to consider issues of visual communications practice and theory. In other words to start up a conversation about the role and function of design and how we can go about understanding it.

A programme of events for 2006/7 was put together by the DRG.

As a part of that programme we hosted the first Design Research Group Conference entitled: What Does it Take? Design, Research, Economy, Society. The Conference was held at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, on the 7th of April 2006.

The DRG invited speakers from the design industry in Ireland to give presentations and participate in round-table debates on contemporary issues facing the industry. A keynote speech was given by designer and design historian Conor Clarke, author of the definitive study on contemporary Dutch and Irish graphic design, Oranje and Green.

Since then the DRG has been working on further events. On the 2nd of November 2006 in the NCAD where the DRG hosted a panel as part of the “Rethinking the Everyday (Material Culture)” Conference. We were fortunate to have internationally renowned designer, Ken Garland as our keynote speaker on the day.

Early in 2007 the DRG website was initiated. This seeks to be a platform for consideration, discussion and negotiation of the issues we believe are central to design, material and visual culture research.

In May 2007 Anna Moran (Department of Visual Culture, NCAD) and Sorcha O’Brien (Department of Visual Culture, NCAD) joined the Design Research Group and the DRG Conference Steering Committee successfully organised the Love Objects:engaging material culture Conference on February 14 2008. The DRG was very fortunate to have as keynote speakers on the day Victor Margolin, Professor Emeritus of Design History Department of Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago and Louise Purbrick, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art and Design, University of Brighton.

In 2009 David Caron of the Department of Visual Communications joined the DRG.

We’re also working on publications and in preparatory discussions about an event to be held in 2009/2010 in conjunction with the NCAD.

However, we’re not restricting our activities to conferences. We have taught a module on Research Methodologies as part of the NCAD Post-graduate programme. In a way this was an opportunity to put some of our ideas about how to consider design into practice.

While the Design Research Group was founded by staff within NCAD and retains strong links to the College it remains an autonomous organisation.

Okay, so now you know, more or less who we are and what we’ve done. In addition to the aims outlined above this site is intended to be a means of communicating what those of us involved in the DRG (and others) consider are interesting aspects of design, representation and society with you and hearing what your thoughts are too.

Please note all text on this site is copyright of the Design Research Group and individual authors except where otherwise noted.

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